Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.
The scope of AI is disputed: as machines become increasingly capable, tasks considered as requiring “intelligence” are often removed from the definition, a phenomenon known as the AI effect, leading to the quip, “AI is whatever hasn’t been done yet.” For instance, optical character recognition is frequently excluded from “artificial intelligence”, having become a routine technology. Capabilities generally classified as AI as of 2017[update] include successfully understanding human speech, competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go), autonomous cars, intelligent routing in content delivery network and military simulations.
Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956, and in the years since has experienced several waves of optimism, followed by disappointment and the loss of funding (known as an “AI winter”), followed by new approaches, success and renewed funding. For most of its history, AI research has been divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. These sub-fields are based on technical considerations, such as particular goals (e.g. “robotics” or “machine learning”), the use of particular tools (“logic” or “neural networks”), or deep philosophical differences. Subfields have also been based on social factors (particular institutions or the work of particular researchers).
The traditional problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, learning, natural language processing, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence is among the field’s long-term goals. Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, neural networks and methods based on statistics, probability and economics. The AI field draws upon computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and many others.
The field was founded on the claim that human intelligence “can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”. This raises philosophical arguments about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human-like intelligence which are issues that have been explored by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Some people also consider AI to be a danger to humanity if it progresses unabatedly. Others believe that AI, unlike previous technological revolutions, will create a risk of mass unemployment.
In the twenty-first century, AI techniques have experienced a resurgence following concurrent advances in computer power, large amounts of data, and theoretical understanding; and AI techniques have become an essential part of the technology industry, helping to solve many challenging problems in computer science.
Thought-capable artificial beings appeared as storytelling devices in antiquity, and have been common in fiction, as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Karel apek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). These characters and their fates raised many of the same issues now discussed in the ethics of artificial intelligence.
The study of mechanical or “formal” reasoning began with philosophers and mathematicians in antiquity. The study of mathematical logic led directly to Alan Turing’s theory of computation, which suggested that a machine, by shuffling symbols as simple as “0” and “1”, could simulate any conceivable act of mathematical deduction. This insight, that digital computers can simulate any process of formal reasoning, is known as the ChurchTuring thesis. Along with concurrent discoveries in neurobiology, information theory and cybernetics, this led researchers to consider the possibility of building an electronic brain. Turing proposed that “if a human could not distinguish between responses from a machine and a human, the machine could be considered intelligent”. The first work that is now generally recognized as AI was McCullouch and Pitts’ 1943 formal design for Turing-complete “artificial neurons”.
The field of AI research was born at a workshop at Dartmouth College in 1956. Attendees Allen Newell (CMU), Herbert Simon (CMU), John McCarthy (MIT), Marvin Minsky (MIT) and Arthur Samuel (IBM) became the founders and leaders of AI research. They and their students produced programs that the press described as “astonishing”: computers were learning checkers strategies (c. 1954) (and by 1959 were reportedly playing better than the average human), solving word problems in algebra, proving logical theorems (Logic Theorist, first run c. 1956) and speaking English. By the middle of the 1960s, research in the U.S. was heavily funded by the Department of Defense and laboratories had been established around the world. AI’s founders were optimistic about the future: Herbert Simon predicted, “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do”. Marvin Minsky agreed, writing, “within a generation… the problem of creating ‘artificial intelligence’ will substantially be solved”.
They failed to recognize the difficulty of some of the remaining tasks. Progress slowed and in 1974, in response to the criticism of Sir James Lighthill and ongoing pressure from the US Congress to fund more productive projects, both the U.S. and British governments cut off exploratory research in AI. The next few years would later be called an “AI winter”, a period when obtaining funding for AI projects was difficult.
In the early 1980s, AI research was revived by the commercial success of expert systems, a form of AI program that simulated the knowledge and analytical skills of human experts. By 1985 the market for AI had reached over a billion dollars. At the same time, Japan’s fifth generation computer project inspired the U.S and British governments to restore funding for academic research. However, beginning with the collapse of the Lisp Machine market in 1987, AI once again fell into disrepute, and a second, longer-lasting hiatus began.
In the late 1990s and early 21st century, AI began to be used for logistics, data mining, medical diagnosis and other areas. The success was due to increasing computational power (see Moore’s law), greater emphasis on solving specific problems, new ties between AI and other fields (such as statistics, economics and mathematics), and a commitment by researchers to mathematical methods and scientific standards. Deep Blue became the first computer chess-playing system to beat a reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov on 11 May 1997.
In 2011, a Jeopardy! quiz show exhibition match, IBM’s question answering system, Watson, defeated the two greatest Jeopardy champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, by a significant margin. Faster computers, algorithmic improvements, and access to large amounts of data enabled advances in machine learning and perception; data-hungry deep learning methods started to dominate accuracy benchmarks around 2012. The Kinect, which provides a 3D bodymotion interface for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One use algorithms that emerged from lengthy AI research as do intelligent personal assistants in smartphones. In March 2016, AlphaGo won 4 out of 5 games of Go in a match with Go champion Lee Sedol, becoming the first computer Go-playing system to beat a professional Go player without handicaps. In the 2017 Future of Go Summit, AlphaGo won a three-game match with Ke Jie, who at the time continuously held the world No. 1 ranking for two years. This marked the completion of a significant milestone in the development of Artificial Intelligence as Go is an extremely complex game, more so than Chess.
According to Bloomberg’s Jack Clark, 2015 was a landmark year for artificial intelligence, with the number of software projects that use AI within Google increased from a “sporadic usage” in 2012 to more than 2,700 projects. Clark also presents factual data indicating that error rates in image processing tasks have fallen significantly since 2011. He attributes this to an increase in affordable neural networks, due to a rise in cloud computing infrastructure and to an increase in research tools and datasets. Other cited examples include Microsoft’s development of a Skype system that can automatically translate from one language to another and Facebook’s system that can describe images to blind people.
A typical AI perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. An AI’s intended goal function can be simple (“1 if the AI wins a game of Go, 0 otherwise”) or complex (“Do actions mathematically similar to the actions that got you rewards in the past”). Goals can be explicitly defined, or can be induced. If the AI is programmed for “reinforcement learning”, goals can be implicitly induced by rewarding some types of behavior and punishing others.[a] Alternatively, an evolutionary system can induce goals by using a “fitness function” to mutate and preferentially replicate high-scoring AI systems; this is similar to how animals evolved to innately desire certain goals such as finding food, or how dogs can be bred via artificial selection to possess desired traits. Some AI systems, such as nearest-neighbor, instead reason by analogy; these systems are not generally given goals, except to the degree that goals are somehow implicit in their training data. Such systems can still be benchmarked if the non-goal system is framed as a system whose “goal” is to successfully accomplish its narrow classification task.
AI often revolves around the use of algorithms. An algorithm is a set of unambiguous instructions that a mechanical computer can execute.[b] A complex algorithm is often built on top of other, simpler, algorithms. A simple example of an algorithm is the following recipe for optimal play at tic-tac-toe:
Many AI algorithms are capable of learning from data; they can enhance themselves by learning new heuristics (strategies, or “rules of thumb”, that have worked well in the past), or can themselves write other algorithms. Some of the “learners” described below, including Bayesian networks, decision trees, and nearest-neighbor, could theoretically, if given infinite data, time, and memory, learn to approximate any function, including whatever combination of mathematical functions would best describe the entire world. These learners could therefore, in theory, derive all possible knowledge, by considering every possible hypothesis and matching it against the data. In practice, it is almost never possible to consider every possibility, because of the phenomenon of “combinatorial explosion”, where the amount of time needed to solve a problem grows exponentially. Much of AI research involves figuring out how to identify and avoid considering broad swaths of possibililities that are unlikely to be fruitful. For example, when viewing a map and looking for the shortest driving route from Denver to New York in the East, one can in most cases skip looking at any path through San Francisco or other areas far to the West; thus, an AI wielding an pathfinding algorithm like A* can avoid the combinatorial explosion that would ensue if every possible route had to be ponderously considered in turn.
The earliest (and easiest to understand) approach to AI was symbolism (such as formal logic): “If an otherwise healthy adult has a fever, then they may have influenza”. A second, more general, approach is Bayesian inference: “If the current patient has a fever, adjust the probability they have influenza in such-and-such way”. The third major approach, extremely popular in routine business AI applications, is analogizers such as SVM and nearest-neighbor: “After examining the records of known past patients whose temperature, symptoms, age, and other factors mostly match the current patient, X% of those patients turned out to have influenza”. A fourth approach is harder to intuitively understand, but is inspired by how the brain’s machinery works: the neural network approach uses artificial “neurons” that can learn by comparing itself to the desired output and altering the strengths of the connections between its internal neurons to “reinforce” connections that seemed to be useful. These four main approaches can overlap with each other and with evolutionary systems; for example, neural nets can learn to make inferences, to generalize, and to make analogies. Some systems implicitly or explicitly use multiple of these approaches, alongside many other AI and non-AI algorithms; the best approach is often different depending on the problem.
Learning algorithms work on the basis that strategies, algorithms, and inferences that worked well in the past are likely to continue working well in the future. These inferences can be obvious, such as “since the sun rose every morning for the last 10,000 days, it will probably rise tomorrow morning as well”. They can be nuanced, such as “X% of families have geographically separate species with color variants, so there is an Y% chance that undiscovered black swans exist”. Learners also work on the basis of “Occam’s razor”: The simplest theory that explains the data is the likeliest. Therefore, to be successful, a learner must be designed such that it prefers simpler theories to complex theories, except in cases where the complex theory is proven substantially better. Settling on a bad, overly complex theory gerrymandered to fit all the past training data is known as overfitting. Many systems attempt to reduce overfitting by rewarding a theory in accordance with how well it fits the data, but penalizing the theory in accordance with how complex the theory is. Besides classic overfitting, learners can also disappoint by “learning the wrong lesson”. A toy example is that an image classifier trained only on pictures of brown horses and black cats might conclude that all brown patches are likely to be horses. A real-world example is that, unlike humans, current image classifiers don’t determine the spatial relationship between components of the picture; instead, they learn abstract patterns of pixels that humans are oblivious to, but that linearly correlate with images of certain types of real objects. Faintly superimposing such a pattern on a legitimate image results in an “adversarial” image that the system misclassifies.[c]
Compared with humans, existing AI lacks several features of human “commonsense reasoning”; most notably, humans have powerful mechanisms for reasoning about “nave physics” such as space, time, and physical interactions. This enables even young children to easily make inferences like “If I roll this pen off a table, it will fall on the floor”. Humans also have a powerful mechanism of “folk psychology” that helps them to interpret natural-language sentences such as “The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they advocated violence”. (A generic AI has difficulty inferring whether the councilmen or the demonstrators are the ones alleged to be advocating violence.) This lack of “common knowledge” means that AI often makes different mistakes than humans make, in ways that can seem incomprehensible. For example, existing self-driving cars cannot reason about the location nor the intentions of pedestrians in the exact way that humans do, and instead must use non-human modes of reasoning to avoid accidents.
The overall research goal of artificial intelligence is to create technology that allows computers and machines to function in an intelligent manner. The general problem of simulating (or creating) intelligence has been broken down into sub-problems. These consist of particular traits or capabilities that researchers expect an intelligent system to display. The traits described below have received the most attention.
Early researchers developed algorithms that imitated step-by-step reasoning that humans use when they solve puzzles or make logical deductions. By the late 1980s and 1990s, AI research had developed methods for dealing with uncertain or incomplete information, employing concepts from probability and economics.
These algorithms proved to be insufficient for solving large reasoning problems, because they experienced a “combinatorial explosion”: they became exponentially slower as the problems grew larger. In fact, even humans rarely use the step-by-step deduction that early AI research was able to model. They solve most of their problems using fast, intuitive judgements.
Knowledge representation and knowledge engineering are central to classical AI research. Some “expert systems” attempt to gather together explicit knowledge possessed by experts in some narrow domain. In addition, some projects attempt to gather the “commonsense knowledge” known to the average person into a database containing extensive knowledge about the world. Among the things a comprehensive commonsense knowledge base would contain are: objects, properties, categories and relations between objects; situations, events, states and time; causes and effects; knowledge about knowledge (what we know about what other people know); and many other, less well researched domains. A representation of “what exists” is an ontology: the set of objects, relations, concepts, and properties formally described so that software agents can interpret them. The semantics of these are captured as description logic concepts, roles, and individuals, and typically implemented as classes, properties, and individuals in the Web Ontology Language. The most general ontologies are called upper ontologies, which attempt to provide a foundation for all other knowledge by acting as mediators between domain ontologies that cover specific knowledge about a particular knowledge domain (field of interest or area of concern). Such formal knowledge representations can be used in content-based indexing and retrieval, scene interpretation, clinical decision support, knowledge discovery (mining “interesting” and actionable inferences from large databases), and other areas.
Among the most difficult problems in knowledge representation are:
Intelligent agents must be able to set goals and achieve them. They need a way to visualize the futurea representation of the state of the world and be able to make predictions about how their actions will change itand be able to make choices that maximize the utility (or “value”) of available choices.
In classical planning problems, the agent can assume that it is the only system acting in the world, allowing the agent to be certain of the consequences of its actions. However, if the agent is not the only actor, then it requires that the agent can reason under uncertainty. This calls for an agent that can not only assess its environment and make predictions, but also evaluate its predictions and adapt based on its assessment.
Multi-agent planning uses the cooperation and competition of many agents to achieve a given goal. Emergent behavior such as this is used by evolutionary algorithms and swarm intelligence.
Machine learning, a fundamental concept of AI research since the field’s inception, is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience.
Unsupervised learning is the ability to find patterns in a stream of input. Supervised learning includes both classification and numerical regression. Classification is used to determine what category something belongs in, after seeing a number of examples of things from several categories. Regression is the attempt to produce a function that describes the relationship between inputs and outputs and predicts how the outputs should change as the inputs change. Both classifiers and regression learners can be viewed as “function approximators” trying to learn an unknown (possibly implicit) function; for example, a spam classifier can be viewed as learning a function that maps from the text of an email to one of two categories, “spam” or “not spam”. Computational learning theory can assess learners by computational complexity, by sample complexity (how much data is required), or by other notions of optimization. In reinforcement learning the agent is rewarded for good responses and punished for bad ones. The agent uses this sequence of rewards and punishments to form a strategy for operating in its problem space.
Natural language processing (NLP) gives machines the ability to read and understand human language. A sufficiently powerful natural language processing system would enable natural language user interfaces and the acquisition of knowledge directly from human-written sources, such as newswire texts. Some straightforward applications of natural language processing include information retrieval, text mining, question answering and machine translation. Many current approaches use word co-occurrence frequencies to construct syntactic representations of text. “Keyword spotting” strategies for search are popular and scalable but dumb; a search query for “dog” might only match documents with the literal word “dog” and miss a document with the word “poodle”. “Lexical affinity” strategies use the occurrence of words such as “accident” to assess the sentiment of a document. Modern statistical NLP approaches can combine all these strategies as well as others, and often achieve acceptable accuracy at the page or paragraph level, but continue to lack the semantic understanding required to classify isolated sentences well. Besides the usual difficulties with encoding semantic commonsense knowledge, existing semantic NLP sometimes scales too poorly to be viable in business applications. Beyond semantic NLP, the ultimate goal of “narrative” NLP is to embody a full understanding of commonsense reasoning.
Machine perception is the ability to use input from sensors (such as cameras (visible spectrum or infrared), microphones, wireless signals, and active lidar, sonar, radar, and tactile sensors) to deduce aspects of the world. Applications include speech recognition, facial recognition, and object recognition. Computer vision is the ability to analyze visual input. Such input is usually ambiguous; a giant, fifty-meter-tall pedestrian far away may produce the exact same pixels as a nearby normal-sized pedestrian, requiring the AI to judge the relative likelihood and reasonableness of different interpretations, for example by using its “object model” to assess that fifty-meter pedestrians do not exist.
AI is heavily used in robotics. Advanced robotic arms and other industrial robots, widely used in modern factories, can learn from experience how to move efficiently despite the presence of friction and gear slippage. A modern mobile robot, when given a small, static, and visible environment, can easily determine its location and map its environment; however, dynamic environments, such as (in endoscopy) the interior of a patient’s breathing body, pose a greater challenge. Motion planning is the process of breaking down a movement task into “primitives” such as individual joint movements. Such movement often involves compliant motion, a process where movement requires maintaining physical contact with an object. Moravec’s paradox generalizes that low-level sensorimotor skills that humans take for granted are, counterintuitively, difficult to program into a robot; the paradox is named after Hans Moravec, who stated in 1988 that “it is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility”. This is attributed to the fact that, unlike checkers, physical dexterity has been a direct target of natural selection for millions of years.
Moravec’s paradox can be extended to many forms of social intelligence. Distributed multi-agent coordination of autonomous vehicles remains a difficult problem. Affective computing is an interdisciplinary umbrella that comprises systems which recognize, interpret, process, or simulate human affects. Moderate successes related to affective computing include textual sentiment analysis and, more recently, multimodal affect analysis, wherein AI classifies the affects displayed by a videotaped subject.
In the long run, social skills and an understanding of human emotion and game theory would be valuable to a social agent. Being able to predict the actions of others by understanding their motives and emotional states would allow an agent to make better decisions. Some computer systems mimic human emotion and expressions to appear more sensitive to the emotional dynamics of human interaction, or to otherwise facilitate humancomputer interaction. Similarly, some virtual assistants are programmed to speak conversationally or even to banter humorously; this tends to give naive users an unrealistic conception of how intelligent existing computer agents actually are.
Historically, projects such as the Cyc knowledge base (1984) and the massive Japanese Fifth Generation Computer Systems initiative (19821992) attempted to cover the breadth of human cognition. These early projects failed to escape the limitations of non-quantitative symbolic logic models and, in retrospect, greatly underestimated the difficulty of cross-domain AI. Nowadays, the vast majority of current AI researchers work instead on tractable “narrow AI” applications (such as medical diagnosis or automobile navigation). Many researchers predict that such “narrow AI” work in different individual domains will eventually be incorporated into a machine with artificial general intelligence (AGI), combining most of the narrow skills mentioned in this article and at some point even exceeding human ability in most or all these areas. Many advances have general, cross-domain significance. One high-profile example is that DeepMind in the 2010s developed a “generalized artificial intelligence” that could learn many diverse Atari games on its own, and later developed a variant of the system which succeeds at sequential learning. Besides transfer learning, hypothetical AGI breakthroughs could include the development of reflective architectures that can engage in decision-theoretic metareasoning, and figuring out how to “slurp up” a comprehensive knowledge base from the entire unstructured Web.. Some argue that some kind of (currently-undiscovered) conceptually straightforward, but mathematically difficult, “Master Algorithm” could lead to AGI. Finally, a few “emergent” approaches look to simulating human intelligence extremely closely, and believe that anthropomorphic features like an artificial brain or simulated child development may someday reach a critical point where general intelligence emerges.
Many of the problems in this article may also require general intelligence, if machines are to solve the problems as well as people do. For example, even specific straightforward tasks, like machine translation, require that a machine read and write in both languages (NLP), follow the author’s argument (reason), know what is being talked about (knowledge), and faithfully reproduce the author’s original intent (social intelligence). A problem like machine translation is considered “AI-complete”, because all of these problems need to be solved simultaneously in order to reach human-level machine performance.
There is no established unifying theory or paradigm that guides AI research. Researchers disagree about many issues. A few of the most long standing questions that have remained unanswered are these: should artificial intelligence simulate natural intelligence by studying psychology or neurobiology? Or is human biology as irrelevant to AI research as bird biology is to aeronautical engineering? Can intelligent behavior be described using simple, elegant principles (such as logic or optimization)? Or does it necessarily require solving a large number of completely unrelated problems?
In the 1940s and 1950s, a number of researchers explored the connection between neurobiology, information theory, and cybernetics. Some of them built machines that used electronic networks to exhibit rudimentary intelligence, such as W. Grey Walter’s turtles and the Johns Hopkins Beast. Many of these researchers gathered for meetings of the Teleological Society at Princeton University and the Ratio Club in England. By 1960, this approach was largely abandoned, although elements of it would be revived in the 1980s.
When access to digital computers became possible in the middle 1950s, AI research began to explore the possibility that human intelligence could be reduced to symbol manipulation. The research was centered in three institutions: Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford and MIT, and as described below, each one developed its own style of research. John Haugeland named these symbolic approaches to AI “good old fashioned AI” or “GOFAI”. During the 1960s, symbolic approaches had achieved great success at simulating high-level thinking in small demonstration programs. Approaches based on cybernetics or neural networks were abandoned or pushed into the background. Researchers in the 1960s and the 1970s were convinced that symbolic approaches would eventually succeed in creating a machine with artificial general intelligence and considered this the goal of their field.
Economist Herbert Simon and Allen Newell studied human problem-solving skills and attempted to formalize them, and their work laid the foundations of the field of artificial intelligence, as well as cognitive science, operations research and management science. Their research team used the results of psychological experiments to develop programs that simulated the techniques that people used to solve problems. This tradition, centered at Carnegie Mellon University would eventually culminate in the development of the Soar architecture in the middle 1980s.
Unlike Simon and Newell, John McCarthy felt that machines did not need to simulate human thought, but should instead try to find the essence of abstract reasoning and problem solving, regardless of whether people used the same algorithms. His laboratory at Stanford (SAIL) focused on using formal logic to solve a wide variety of problems, including knowledge representation, planning and learning. Logic was also the focus of the work at the University of Edinburgh and elsewhere in Europe which led to the development of the programming language Prolog and the science of logic programming.
Researchers at MIT (such as Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert) found that solving difficult problems in vision and natural language processing required ad-hoc solutions they argued that there was no simple and general principle (like logic) that would capture all the aspects of intelligent behavior. Roger Schank described their “anti-logic” approaches as “scruffy” (as opposed to the “neat” paradigms at CMU and Stanford). Commonsense knowledge bases (such as Doug Lenat’s Cyc) are an example of “scruffy” AI, since they must be built by hand, one complicated concept at a time.
When computers with large memories became available around 1970, researchers from all three traditions began to build knowledge into AI applications. This “knowledge revolution” led to the development and deployment of expert systems (introduced by Edward Feigenbaum), the first truly successful form of AI software. The knowledge revolution was also driven by the realization that enormous amounts of knowledge would be required by many simple AI applications.
By the 1980s progress in symbolic AI seemed to stall and many believed that symbolic systems would never be able to imitate all the processes of human cognition, especially perception, robotics, learning and pattern recognition. A number of researchers began to look into “sub-symbolic” approaches to specific AI problems. Sub-symbolic methods manage to approach intelligence without specific representations of knowledge.
This includes embodied, situated, behavior-based, and nouvelle AI. Researchers from the related field of robotics, such as Rodney Brooks, rejected symbolic AI and focused on the basic engineering problems that would allow robots to move and survive. Their work revived the non-symbolic viewpoint of the early cybernetics researchers of the 1950s and reintroduced the use of control theory in AI. This coincided with the development of the embodied mind thesis in the related field of cognitive science: the idea that aspects of the body (such as movement, perception and visualization) are required for higher intelligence.
Within developmental robotics, developmental learning approaches are elaborated upon to allow robots to accumulate repertoires of novel skills through autonomous self-exploration, social interaction with human teachers, and the use of guidance mechanisms (active learning, maturation, motor synergies, etc.).
Interest in neural networks and “connectionism” was revived by David Rumelhart and others in the middle of the 1980s. Neural networks are an example of soft computing — they are solutions to problems which cannot be solved with complete logical certainty, and where an approximate solution is often sufficient. Other soft computing approaches to AI include fuzzy systems, evolutionary computation and many statistical tools. The application of soft computing to AI is studied collectively by the emerging discipline of computational intelligence.
Much of GOFAI got bogged down on ad hoc patches to symbolic computation that worked on their own toy models but failed to generalize to real-world results. However, around the 1990s, AI researchers adopted sophisticated mathematical tools, such as hidden Markov models (HMM), information theory, and normative Bayesian decision theory to compare or to unify competing architectures. The shared mathematical language permitted a high level of collaboration with more established fields (like mathematics, economics or operations research).[d] Compared with GOFAI, new “statistical learning” techniques such as HMM and neural networks were gaining higher levels of accuracy in many practical domains such as data mining, without necessarily acquiring semantic understanding of the datasets. The increased successes with real-world data led to increasing emphasis on comparing different approaches against shared test data to see which approach performed best in a broader context than that provided by idiosyncratic toy models; AI research was becoming more scientific. Nowadays results of experiments are often rigorously measurable, and are sometimes (with difficulty) reproducible. Different statistical learning techniques have different limitations; for example, basic HMM cannot model the infinite possible combinations of natural language. Critics note that the shift from GOFAI to statistical learning is often also a shift away from Explainable AI. In AGI research, some scholars caution against over-reliance on statistical learning, and argue that continuing research into GOFAI will still be necessary to attain general intelligence.
In the course of 60 or so years of research, AI has developed a large number of tools to solve the most difficult problems in computer science. A few of the most general of these methods are discussed below.
Many problems in AI can be solved in theory by intelligently searching through many possible solutions: Reasoning can be reduced to performing a search. For example, logical proof can be viewed as searching for a path that leads from premises to conclusions, where each step is the application of an inference rule. Planning algorithms search through trees of goals and subgoals, attempting to find a path to a target goal, a process called means-ends analysis. Robotics algorithms for moving limbs and grasping objects use local searches in configuration space. Many learning algorithms use search algorithms based on optimization.
Simple exhaustive searches are rarely sufficient for most real world problems: the search space (the number of places to search) quickly grows to astronomical numbers. The result is a search that is too slow or never completes. The solution, for many problems, is to use “heuristics” or “rules of thumb” that prioritize choices in favor of those that are more likely to reach a goal, and to do so in a shorter number of steps. In some search methodologies heuristics can also serve to entirely eliminate some choices that are unlikely to lead to a goal (called “pruning the search tree”). Heuristics supply the program with a “best guess” for the path on which the solution lies. Heuristics limit the search for solutions into a smaller sample size.
A very different kind of search came to prominence in the 1990s, based on the mathematical theory of optimization. For many problems, it is possible to begin the search with some form of a guess and then refine the guess incrementally until no more refinements can be made. These algorithms can be visualized as blind hill climbing: we begin the search at a random point on the landscape, and then, by jumps or steps, we keep moving our guess uphill, until we reach the top. Other optimization algorithms are simulated annealing, beam search and random optimization.
Evolutionary computation uses a form of optimization search. For example, they may begin with a population of organisms (the guesses) and then allow them to mutate and recombine, selecting only the fittest to survive each generation (refining the guesses). Forms of evolutionary computation include swarm intelligence algorithms (such as ant colony or particle swarm optimization) and evolutionary algorithms (such as genetic algorithms, gene expression programming, and genetic programming).
Logic is used for knowledge representation and problem solving, but it can be applied to other problems as well. For example, the satplan algorithm uses logic for planning and inductive logic programming is a method for learning.
Several different forms of logic are used in AI research. Propositional or sentential logic is the logic of statements which can be true or false. First-order logic also allows the use of quantifiers and predicates, and can express facts about objects, their properties, and their relations with each other. Fuzzy logic, is a version of first-order logic which allows the truth of a statement to be represented as a value between 0 and 1, rather than simply True (1) or False (0). Fuzzy systems can be used for uncertain reasoning and have been widely used in modern industrial and consumer product control systems. Subjective logic models uncertainty in a different and more explicit manner than fuzzy-logic: a given binomial opinion satisfies belief + disbelief + uncertainty = 1 within a Beta distribution. By this method, ignorance can be distinguished from probabilistic statements that an agent makes with high confidence.
Default logics, non-monotonic logics and circumscription are forms of logic designed to help with default reasoning and the qualification problem. Several extensions of logic have been designed to handle specific domains of knowledge, such as: description logics; situation calculus, event calculus and fluent calculus (for representing events and time); causal calculus; belief calculus; and modal logics.
Many problems in AI (in reasoning, planning, learning, perception and robotics) require the agent to operate with incomplete or uncertain information. AI researchers have devised a number of powerful tools to solve these problems using methods from probability theory and economics.
Bayesian networks are a very general tool that can be used for a large number of problems: reasoning (using the Bayesian inference algorithm), learning (using the expectation-maximization algorithm),[e] planning (using decision networks) and perception (using dynamic Bayesian networks). Bayesian networks are used in AdSense to choose what ads to place and on XBox Live to rate and match players. Probabilistic algorithms can also be used for filtering, prediction, smoothing and finding explanations for streams of data, helping perception systems to analyze processes that occur over time (e.g., hidden Markov models or Kalman filters).
A key concept from the science of economics is “utility”: a measure of how valuable something is to an intelligent agent. Precise mathematical tools have been developed that analyze how an agent can make choices and plan, using decision theory, decision analysis, and information value theory. These tools include models such as Markov decision processes, dynamic decision networks, game theory and mechanism design.
The simplest AI applications can be divided into two types: classifiers (“if shiny then diamond”) and controllers (“if shiny then pick up”). Controllers do, however, also classify conditions before inferring actions, and therefore classification forms a central part of many AI systems. Classifiers are functions that use pattern matching to determine a closest match. They can be tuned according to examples, making them very attractive for use in AI. These examples are known as observations or patterns. In supervised learning, each pattern belongs to a certain predefined class. A class can be seen as a decision that has to be made. All the observations combined with their class labels are known as a data set. When a new observation is received, that observation is classified based on previous experience.
A classifier can be trained in various ways; there are many statistical and machine learning approaches. The decision tree is perhaps the most widely used machine learning algorithm. Other widely used classifiers are the neural network, k-nearest neighbor algorithm,[f] kernel methods such as the support vector machine (SVM),[g] Gaussian mixture model and the extremely popular naive Bayes classifier.[h] The performance of these classifiers have been compared over a wide range of tasks. Classifier performance depends greatly on the characteristics of the data to be classified. There is no single classifier that works best on all given problems; this is also referred to as the “no free lunch” theorem. Determining a suitable classifier for a given problem is still more an art than science.
Neural networks, or neural nets, were inspired by the architecture of neurons in the human brain. A simple “neuron” N accepts input from multiple other neurons, each of which, when activated (or “fired”), cast a weighted “vote” for or against whether neuron N should itself activate. Learning requires an algorithm to adjust these weights based on the training data; one simple algorithm (dubbed “fire together, wire together”) is to increase the weight between two connected neurons when the activation of one triggers the successful activation of another. The net forms “concepts” that are distributed among a subnetwork of shared[i] neurons that tend to fire together; a concept meaning “leg” might be coupled with a subnetwork meaning “foot” that includes the sound for “foot”. Neurons have a continuous spectrum of activation; in addition, neurons can process inputs in a nonlinear way rather than weighing straightforward votes. Modern neural nets can learn both continuous functions and, surprisingly, digital logical operations. Neural networks’ early successes included predicting the stock market and (in 1995) a mostly self-driving car.[j] In the 2010s, advances in neural networks using deep learning thrust AI into widespread public consciousness and contributed to an enormous upshift in corporate AI spending; for example, AI-related M&A in 2017 was over 25 times as large as in 2015.
The study of non-learning artificial neural networks began in the decade before the field of AI research was founded, in the work of Walter Pitts and Warren McCullouch. Frank Rosenblatt invented the perceptron, a learning network with a single layer, similar to the old concept of linear regression. Early pioneers also include Alexey Grigorevich Ivakhnenko, Teuvo Kohonen, Stephen Grossberg, Kunihiko Fukushima, Christoph von der Malsburg, David Willshaw, Shun-Ichi Amari, Bernard Widrow, John Hopfield, Eduardo R. Caianiello, and others.
The main categories of networks are acyclic or feedforward neural networks (where the signal passes in only one direction) and recurrent neural networks (which allow feedback and short-term memories of previous input events). Among the most popular feedforward networks are perceptrons, multi-layer perceptrons and radial basis networks. Neural networks can be applied to the problem of intelligent control (for robotics) or learning, using such techniques as Hebbian learning (“fire together, wire together”), GMDH or competitive learning.
Today, neural networks are often trained by the backpropagation algorithm, which had been around since 1970 as the reverse mode of automatic differentiation published by Seppo Linnainmaa, and was introduced to neural networks by Paul Werbos.
Hierarchical temporal memory is an approach that models some of the structural and algorithmic properties of the neocortex.
In short, most neural networks use some form of gradient descent on a hand-created neural topology. However, some research groups, such as Uber, argue that simple neuroevolution to mutate new neural network topologies and weights may be competitive with sophisticated gradient descent approaches. One advantage of neuroevolution is that it may be less prone to get caught in “dead ends”.
Deep learning is any artificial neural network that can learn a long chain of causal links. For example, a feedforward network with six hidden layers can learn a seven-link causal chain (six hidden layers + output layer) and has a “credit assignment path” (CAP) depth of seven. Many deep learning systems need to be able to learn chains ten or more causal links in length. Deep learning has transformed many important subfields of artificial intelligence, including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing and others.
According to one overview, the expression “Deep Learning” was introduced to the Machine Learning community by Rina Dechter in 1986 and gained traction after Igor Aizenberg and colleagues introduced it to Artificial Neural Networks in 2000. The first functional Deep Learning networks were published by Alexey Grigorevich Ivakhnenko and V. G. Lapa in 1965.[pageneeded] These networks are trained one layer at a time. Ivakhnenko’s 1971 paper describes the learning of a deep feedforward multilayer perceptron with eight layers, already much deeper than many later networks. In 2006, a publication by Geoffrey Hinton and Ruslan Salakhutdinov introduced another way of pre-training many-layered feedforward neural networks (FNNs) one layer at a time, treating each layer in turn as an unsupervised restricted Boltzmann machine, then using supervised backpropagation for fine-tuning. Similar to shallow artificial neural networks, deep neural networks can model complex non-linear relationships. Over the last few years, advances in both machine learning algorithms and computer hardware have led to more efficient methods for training deep neural networks that contain many layers of non-linear hidden units and a very large output layer.
Deep learning often uses convolutional neural networks (CNNs), whose origins can be traced back to the Neocognitron introduced by Kunihiko Fukushima in 1980. In 1989, Yann LeCun and colleagues applied backpropagation to such an architecture. In the early 2000s, in an industrial application CNNs already processed an estimated 10% to 20% of all the checks written in the US. Since 2011, fast implementations of CNNs on GPUs have won many visual pattern recognition competitions.
CNNs with 12 convolutional layers were used in conjunction with reinforcement learning by Deepmind’s “AlphaGo Lee”, the program that beat a top Go champion in 2016.
Early on, deep learning was also applied to sequence learning with recurrent neural networks (RNNs) which are in theory Turing complete and can run arbitrary programs to process arbitrary sequences of inputs. The depth of an RNN is unlimited and depends on the length of its input sequence; thus, an RNN is an example of deep learning. RNNs can be trained by gradient descent but suffer from the vanishing gradient problem. In 1992, it was shown that unsupervised pre-training of a stack of recurrent neural networks can speed up subsequent supervised learning of deep sequential problems.
Numerous researchers now use variants of a deep learning recurrent NN called the long short-term memory (LSTM) network published by Hochreiter & Schmidhuber in 1997. LSTM is often trained by Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC). At Google, Microsoft and Baidu this approach has revolutionised speech recognition. For example, in 2015, Google’s speech recognition experienced a dramatic performance jump of 49% through CTC-trained LSTM, which is now available through Google Voice to billions of smartphone users. Google also used LSTM to improve machine translation, Language Modeling and Multilingual Language Processing. LSTM combined with CNNs also improved automatic image captioning and a plethora of other applications.
Early symbolic AI inspired Lisp and Prolog, which dominated early AI programming. Modern AI development often uses mainstream languages such as Python or C++, or niche languages such as Wolfram Language.
In 1950, Alan Turing proposed a general procedure to test the intelligence of an agent now known as the Turing test. This procedure allows almost all the major problems of artificial intelligence to be tested. However, it is a very difficult challenge and at present all agents fail.
Artificial intelligence can also be evaluated on specific problems such as small problems in chemistry, hand-writing recognition and game-playing. Such tests have been termed subject matter expert Turing tests. Smaller problems provide more achievable goals and there are an ever-increasing number of positive results.
For example, performance at draughts (i.e. checkers) is optimal, performance at chess is high-human and nearing super-human (see computer chess:computers versus human) and performance at many everyday tasks (such as recognizing a face or crossing a room without bumping into something) is sub-human.
A quite different approach measures machine intelligence through tests which are developed from mathematical definitions of intelligence. Examples of these kinds of tests start in the late nineties devising intelligence tests using notions from Kolmogorov complexity and data compression. Two major advantages of mathematical definitions are their applicability to nonhuman intelligences and their absence of a requirement for human testers.
A derivative of the Turing test is the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA). As the name implies, this helps to determine that a user is an actual person and not a computer posing as a human. In contrast to the standard Turing test, CAPTCHA is administered by a machine and targeted to a human as opposed to being administered by a human and targeted to a machine. A computer asks a user to complete a simple test then generates a grade for that test. Computers are unable to solve the problem, so correct solutions are deemed to be the result of a person taking the test. A common type of CAPTCHA is the test that requires the typing of distorted letters, numbers or symbols that appear in an image undecipherable by a computer.
AI is relevant to any intellectual task. Modern artificial intelligence techniques are pervasive and are too numerous to list here. Frequently, when a technique reaches mainstream use, it is no longer considered artificial intelligence; this phenomenon is described as the AI effect.
High-profile examples of AI include autonomous vehicles (such as drones and self-driving cars), medical diagnosis, creating art (such as poetry), proving mathematical theorems, playing games (such as Chess or Go), search engines (such as Google search), online assistants (such as Siri), image recognition in photographs, spam filtering, prediction of judicial decisions and targeting online advertisements.
With social media sites overtaking TV as a source for news for young people and news organisations increasingly reliant on social media platforms for generating distribution, major publishers now use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to post stories more effectively and generate higher volumes of traffic.
There are a number of competitions and prizes to promote research in artificial intelligence. The main areas promoted are: general machine intelligence, conversational behavior, data-mining, robotic cars, robot soccer and games.
Artificial intelligence is breaking into the healthcare industry by assisting doctors. According to Bloomberg Technology, Microsoft has developed AI to help doctors find the right treatments for cancer. There is a great amount of research and drugs developed relating to cancer. In detail, there are more than 800 medicines and vaccines to treat cancer. This negatively affects the doctors, because there are too many options to choose from, making it more difficult to choose the right drugs for the patients. Microsoft is working on a project to develop a machine called “Hanover”. Its goal is to memorize all the papers necessary to cancer and help predict which combinations of drugs will be most effective for each patient. One project that is being worked on at the moment is fighting myeloid leukemia, a fatal cancer where the treatment has not improved in decades. Another study was reported to have found that artificial intelligence was as good as trained doctors in identifying skin cancers. Another study is using artificial intelligence to try and monitor multiple high-risk patients, and this is done by asking each patient numerous questions based on data acquired from live doctor to patient interactions.
According to CNN, there was a recent study by surgeons at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington which successfully demonstrated surgery with an autonomous robot. The team supervised the robot while it performed soft-tissue surgery, stitching together a pig’s bowel during open surgery, and doing so better than a human surgeon, the team claimed. IBM has created its own artificial intelligence computer, the IBM Watson, which has beaten human intelligence (at some levels). Watson not only won at the game show Jeopardy! against former champions, but, was declared a hero after successfully diagnosing a women who was suffering from leukemia.
Advancements in AI have contributed to the growth of the automotive industry through the creation and evolution of self-driving vehicles. As of 2016, there are over 30 companies utilizing AI into the creation of driverless cars. A few companies involved with AI include Tesla, Google, and Apple.
Many components contribute to the functioning of self-driving cars. These vehicles incorporate systems such as braking, lane changing, collision prevention, navigation and mapping. Together, these systems, as well as high performance computers, are integrated into one complex vehicle.
Recent developments in autonomous automobiles have made the innovation of self-driving trucks possible, though they are still in the testing phase. The UK government has passed legislation to begin testing of self-driving truck platoons in 2018. Self-driving truck platoons are a fleet of self-driving trucks following the lead of one non-self-driving truck, so the truck platoons aren’t entirely autonomous yet. Meanwhile, the Daimler, a German automobile corporation, is testing the Freightliner Inspiration which is a semi-autonomous truck that will only be used on the highway.
One main factor that influences the ability for a driver-less automobile to function is mapping. In general, the vehicle would be pre-programmed with a map of the area being driven. This map would include data on the approximations of street light and curb heights in order for the vehicle to be aware of its surroundings. However, Google has been working on an algorithm with the purpose of eliminating the need for pre-programmed maps and instead, creating a device that would be able to adjust to a variety of new surroundings. Some self-driving cars are not equipped with steering wheels or brake pedals, so there has also been research focused on creating an algorithm that is capable of maintaining a safe environment for the passengers in the vehicle through awareness of speed and driving conditions.
Another factor that is influencing the ability for a driver-less automobile is the safety of the passenger. To make a driver-less automobile, engineers must program it to handle high risk situations. These situations could include a head on collision with pedestrians. The car’s main goal should be to make a decision that would avoid hitting the pedestrians and saving the passengers in the car. But there is a possibility the car would need to make a decision that would put someone in danger. In other words, the car would need to decide to save the pedestrians or the passengers. The programing of the car in these situations is crucial to a successful driver-less automobile.
Financial institutions have long used artificial neural network systems to detect charges or claims outside of the norm, flagging these for human investigation. The use of AI in banking can be traced back to 1987 when Security Pacific National Bank in US set-up a Fraud Prevention Task force to counter the unauthorised use of debit cards. Programs like Kasisto and Moneystream are using AI in financial services.
Banks use artificial intelligence systems today to organize operations, maintain book-keeping, invest in stocks, and manage properties. AI can react to changes overnight or when business is not taking place. In August 2001, robots beat humans in a simulated financial trading competition. AI has also reduced fraud and financial crimes by monitoring behavioral patterns of users for any abnormal changes or anomalies.
The use of AI machines in the market in applications such as online trading and decision making has changed major economic theories. For example, AI based buying and selling platforms have changed the law of supply and demand in that it is now possible to easily estimate individualized demand and supply curves and thus individualized pricing. Furthermore, AI machines reduce information asymmetry in the market and thus making markets more efficient while reducing the volume of trades. Furthermore, AI in the markets limits the consequences of behavior in the markets again making markets more efficient. Other theories where AI has had impact include in rational choice, rational expectations, game theory, Lewis turning point, portfolio optimization and counterfactual thinking.
In video games, artificial intelligence is routinely used to generate dynamic purposeful behavior in non-player characters (NPCs). In addition, well-understood AI techniques are routinely used for pathfinding. Some researchers consider NPC AI in games to be a “solved problem” for most production tasks. Games with more atypical AI include the AI director of Left 4 Dead (2008) and the neuroevolutionary training of platoons in Supreme Commander 2 (2010).
Worldwide annual military spending on robotics rose from 5.1 billion USD in 2010 to 7.5 billion USD in 2015. Military drones capable of autonomous action are widely considered a useful asset. In 2017, Vladimir Putin stated that “Whoever becomes the leader in (artificial intelligence) will become the ruler of the world”. Many artificial intelligence researchers seek to distance themselves from military applications of AI.
A platform (or “computing platform”) is defined as “some sort of hardware architecture or software framework (including application frameworks), that allows software to run”. As Rodney Brooks pointed out many years ago, it is not just the artificial intelligence software that defines the AI features of the platform, but rather the actual platform itself that affects the AI that results, i.e., there needs to be work in AI problems on real-world platforms rather than in isolation.
A wide variety of platforms has allowed different aspects of AI to develop, ranging from expert systems such as Cyc to deep-learning frameworks to robot platforms such as the Roomba with open interface. Recent advances in deep artificial neural networks and distributed computing have led to a proliferation of software libraries, including Deeplearning4j, TensorFlow, Theano and Torch.
Collective AI is a platform architecture that combines individual AI into a collective entity, in order to achieve global results from individual behaviors. With its collective structure, developers can crowdsource information and extend the functionality of existing AI domains on the platform for their own use, as well as continue to create and share new domains and capabilities for the wider community and greater good. As developers continue to contribute, the overall platform grows more intelligent and is able to perform more requests, providing a scalable model for greater communal benefit. Organizations like SoundHound Inc. and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have used this collaborative AI model.
A McKinsey Global Institute study found a shortage of 1.5 million highly trained data and AI professionals and managers and a number of private bootcamps have developed programs to meet that demand, including free programs like The Data Incubator or paid programs like General Assembly.
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Artificial intelligence – Wikipedia